How to Restore Microsoft Excel to Default Spreadsheet Settings

Restoring Microsoft Excel to its default spreadsheet settings is a simple process that will reset the program to its original state. This can be useful when you want to start fresh, fix any errors, or simply prefer the original layout. All it takes is a few clicks within the Excel options menu, and you’ll have your spreadsheet looking as good as new.

After completing the action, Excel will revert back to its default settings. This means that any customization or changes you made to the interface, layout, or default workbook will be lost. It’s like giving your Excel a fresh start.


Microsoft Excel is a powerhouse when it comes to spreadsheet software. Whether you are a student crunching numbers for a project, a business analyst dealing with large datasets, or just someone keeping track of household expenses, Excel is the go-to tool for many. But what happens when your Excel starts behaving oddly or the settings get changed and you can’t seem to get them back to the way you like? Or maybe you’ve inherited a spreadsheet with a weird layout or customized settings that just don’t work for you. Sometimes, the best solution is to wipe the slate clean and restore Microsoft Excel to its default spreadsheet.

Restoring Excel to its default settings is important because it can help solve problems caused by changes in settings or by third-party add-ins. It can also be useful when you want to ensure consistency across multiple computers or users. Plus, if you’re not too tech-savvy, returning to the default settings can make Excel easier to use. This article is relevant to anyone who uses Microsoft Excel and wants to ensure they have the basic starting point for their spreadsheets.

How to Restore Microsoft Excel to Its Default Spreadsheet

Before diving into the steps, it’s important to know that restoring Excel to its default settings will reset all customization options. This includes any changes you’ve made to the ribbon, quick access toolbar, and any default templates you may have set up.

Step 1: Open Excel Options

Open Microsoft Excel, click on the ‘File’ tab, then select ‘Options’ at the bottom of the sidebar.

This will open the Excel Options window, where you can adjust a wide range of settings for your Excel environment.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Customize Ribbon’ Tab

In the Excel Options window, click on the ‘Customize Ribbon’ tab on the left-hand side.

This tab contains settings for customizing the ribbon, which is the toolbar at the top of Excel that contains all of the commands and features.

Step 3: Reset the Ribbon and Toolbar

Click on the ‘Reset’ button at the bottom right of the window, then select ‘Reset all customizations’.

By doing this, you will reset the ribbon and the quick access toolbar to their default settings, undoing any changes or additions you may have made.

Step 4: Go to the ‘Add-ins’ Tab

Now, click on the ‘Add-ins’ tab on the left-hand side of the Excel Options window.

Add-ins are third-party tools or extensions that can be used within Excel to add functionality. If any of these are causing issues, this is where you can manage them.

Step 5: Disable Add-ins (Optional)

If you believe an add-in is causing problems, you can disable it by selecting the add-in in the list and then clicking on the ‘Go…’ button at the bottom of the window.

In the new window that opens, you can uncheck any add-ins you want to disable and then click ‘OK’. Remember, this step is optional and should only be done if you suspect an add-in is causing issues.


Restores Default SettingsRestoring Excel to its default settings can help fix issues that arise from accidental or unwanted changes, making it easier to use and navigate.
Solves Add-in IssuesBy disabling problematic add-ins, you can ensure that Excel runs smoothly without any third-party interference.
Increases ConsistencyWhen using Excel across multiple computers or sharing files with others, restoring to default settings ensures consistency and prevents confusion.


Loss of CustomizationsResetting Excel to its default settings will erase any customizations you’ve made, which can be frustrating if you’ve spent time personalizing your interface.
Time-ConsumingThe process of restoring and re-customizing Excel can be time-consuming, especially if you have to do it frequently.
Potential Data LossIf you have custom templates or settings that affect how you work with data, restoring defaults could lead to data loss or require additional time to reconfigure your setups.

Additional Information

While the steps to restore Microsoft Excel to its default settings are relatively straightforward, it’s worth noting that this process won’t affect your existing documents. Any spreadsheets you’ve created or edited will remain intact with their current formatting and data. However, any default templates or themes you’ve set up will revert back to the original ones provided by Excel.

If you’re a heavy Excel user who relies on specific customizations for efficiency, it might be a good idea to backup your settings before restoring defaults. This way, you can quickly reinstate your preferred environment without having to go through the customization process again. Also, remember that restoring defaults won’t uninstall any add-ins; it will simply disable them. If you want to completely remove an add-in, you’ll need to do so through the ‘Add or Remove Programs’ feature in your computer’s control panel.

When it comes to Excel, having a clean and familiar interface can significantly improve your productivity. Whether you’re troubleshooting, standardizing setups across multiple users, or just prefer the default look and feel, knowing how to restore Microsoft Excel to its default spreadsheet can come in handy.


  1. Open Excel Options from the File tab.
  2. Go to the Customize Ribbon tab.
  3. Reset the ribbon and toolbar.
  4. Go to the Add-ins tab.
  5. Optionally, disable add-ins.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I lose my spreadsheets if I restore Excel to its default settings?

No, your existing spreadsheets will not be affected by restoring Excel to its default settings. Only the program’s settings and customizations will be reset.

Can I backup my Excel settings before restoring to defaults?

Yes, you can save your Excel settings by exporting your ribbon and toolbar customizations. This can be done from the same ‘Customize Ribbon’ tab in the Excel Options window.

What if I only want to reset certain aspects of Excel and not others?

You can selectively reset parts of Excel, such as just the ribbon or just the quick access toolbar, by using the reset options available within the ‘Customize Ribbon’ and ‘Quick Access Toolbar’ tabs in the Excel Options window.

How do I know if an add-in is causing problems in Excel?

If Excel is running slowly, crashing, or behaving unpredictably, and you’ve recently installed an add-in, it might be the culprit. Try disabling the add-in to see if that resolves the issues.

Can I remove add-ins completely when restoring Excel to its default settings?

Restoring default settings will disable, but not remove, add-ins. To completely uninstall an add-in, you’ll need to do so through the ‘Add or Remove Programs’ feature in your computer’s control panel.


Knowing how to restore Microsoft Excel to its default spreadsheet is a valuable skill for any Excel user. Whether you’re troubleshooting an issue, setting up a system for consistency among multiple users, or simply prefer the simplicity of the default settings, the process is simple and straightforward.

Keep in mind that while this action won’t affect your existing files, any customizations you’ve made to the Excel interface will be lost. Always consider backing up your settings if they are crucial to your workflow. With Excel restored to its default state, you’re ready to dive back into your data with a clean slate. Happy spreadsheeting!

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